Song Lyric Sunday/Song of the Day: Elvis Presley, “Kentucky Rain”

Today’s prompt is “air, earth, fire, water,” and since rain is water, the song I chose is Elvis Presley’s “Kentucky Rain.”

This might be my favorite Elvis Presley song. It was written by Eddie Rabbitt and Dick Heard, and the backing musicians included Ronnie Milsap on piano. It was released in January 1970, and only went as high as #18 on the Hot 100, but went to #3 on the Adult Contemporary chart and #31 on the Country chart in the US. It did much better in Canada, where it reached #10 overall, #3 on the Adult Contemporary chart, and went all the way to #1 on the Country chart. The great thing about this song, to me, is the the anxiety and desperation in Elvis’s voice as he sings the story of a man looking for the love of his life.

The lyrics, from AZLyrics.com:

Seven lonely days
And a dozen towns ago
I reached out one night
And you were gone
Don’t know why you’d run,
What you’re running to or from
All I know is I want to bring you home

So I’m walking in the rain,
Thumbing for a ride
On this lonely Kentucky backroad
I’ve loved you much too long
And my love’s too strong
To let you go, never knowing
What went wrong

Kentucky rain keeps pouring down
And up ahead’s another town
That I’ll go walking thru
With the rain in my shoes,
Searchin’ for you
In the cold Kentucky rain,
In the cold Kentucky rain

Showed your photograph
To some old gray bearded men
Sitting on a bench
Outside a gen’ral store
They said “Yes, she’s been here”
But their memory wasn’t clear
Was it yesterday,
No, wait the day before

So I fin’ly got a ride
With a preacher man who asked
“Where you bound on such a cold dark afternoon?”
As we drove on thru the rain
As he listened I explained
And he left me with a prayer
That I’d find you

Kentucky rain keeps pouring down
And up ahead’s another town
That I’ll go walking thru
With the rain in my shoes,
Searchin for you
In the cold Kentucky rain,
In the cold Kentucky rain…

And that’s Song Lyric Sunday and Song of the Day for July 12, 2020.

Song Lyric Sunday/Song of the Day: Chicago, “Goodbye”

Today’s prompt (slightly rearranged) is “good, better, best, great.” Of all the songs I could think of, the one that stood out most in my mind was “Goodbye,” from Chicago’s 1972 album Chicago V. This was the album, I think I told you, where I risked life and limb by riding my bicycle on some pretty dangerous roads to buy the day it came out, which Wikipedia tells me was Monday, July 10, 1972.

I was ambivalent about this album. For one thing, it was a single LP; up to that point Chicago’s albums were all double LP sets. For another, I didn’t like a couple of the songs. On the other hand, there were some excellent songs, including “Goodbye,” the penultimate song. It was written by Robert Lamm, who wrote most of the songs on the album, and features some of the best playing by the band that I had heard. It also features a shift into 7/8 time for Lee Loughnane’s trumpet solo in the middle. That just about blew my mind…

The lyrics, from AZLyrics:

Flying high, touch the sky
Going to places I never knew
So goodbye
And hello, long ago

I can see history
Standing still, a mystery – if you will
Pardon me
I’m away for the day

Feels so good to be soaring
‘Cause L.A. was so boring
Goodbye
There must be room for growing
Somewhere else and I’m going
Goodbye

The days and nights have gone dry
The last three whole years have flashed by

And that’s Song Lyric Sunday (and Song of the Day) for July 5, 2020.

Song Lyric Sunday/Song of the Day: June Christy, “Something Cool”

This is more or less a repeat from last year. It just seemed apropos…

Right now as I write this, the power is out. Fortunately, we had the air conditioning working round the clock to cool the house before that, so it’s nice and cool in the house. As “cool” is one of the prompts, my mind immediately went to one of my favorite songs, June Christy’s “Something Cool,” title track from her 1952 album. It was released several times: the 1952 original had seven tracks and was recorded in mono, the 1953 release added five additional songs, and in 1954 the entire album was re-recorded in stereo. She’s accompanied by her husband, Pete Rugolo, and his orchestra.

The lyrics from Genius:

Something cool, (something cool)
I’d like to order something cool, (something cool)
It’s so warm here in town
And the heat gets me down
Yes, I’d like something cool! (something cool)

My! It’s nice to simply sit and rest awhile
Now I know it’s a shame
I can’t think of your name
I remember your smile!

I don’t ordinarily drink with strangers
I most usually drink alone
You were so awfully nice to me
And I’m so terribly far from home

Like my dress? I must confess it’s terribly old
But it’s simple and neat
It’s just right for the heat
Save my furs for the cold!

A cigarette? Well I don’t smoke them as a rule
But I’ll have one
It might be fun
With something cool!

I’ll bet you couldn’t imagine
That I one time had a house
With so many rooms I couldn’t count them all!
I’ll bet you couldn’t imagine
I had fifteen different beaus
Who would beg and beg to take me to a ball

I’ll bet you couldn’t picture me
The time I went to Paris in the Fall
And who would think the man I loved was quite so handsome
Quite so tall?

Well it’s true, (something cool)
It’s just a memory I have, (something cool)
One I almost forgot
‘Cause the weather’s so hot!
And I’m feeling so bad (something cool)
About a date
Oh wait!
I’m such a fool!
He’s just a guy
Who’s stopped to buy
Me something cool!

And that’s Song lyric Sunday and Song of the Day for June 28, 2020.

Song Lyric Sunday/Song of the Day: Luciano Pavarotti, “Ave Maria”

Today’s prompt is “Mary/Maria/Marie.”

Anyone who’s been reading The Sound of One Hand Typing for any length of time knows that I’ve been married for over 42 years to my beloved Mary. The year she was born, Mary was the most popular name for girls in the United States, and in much of the world. (For the record, my name was #5, behind Michael, James, David, and Robert.)

To Christians, Mary is the name of the mother of Jesus, and if you’re a Catholic Christian, she holds a special place in your heart. She’s appeared in apparitions all over the world: Lourdes, Fatima, La Salette, Guadalupe, and (unofficially) Medjugorje are the ones that come immediately to mind for me. Her message to the people she’s appeared to is a simple one: Pray, repent, and prepare for the return of her Son. Some non-Catholics accuse Catholics of praying to her as though she’s God, but that isn’t the case; she’s an intercessor, as are the saints, but being His mother gives her a special place in His heart. Which reminds me of a story…

An older priest, the pastor of his parish, is showing his new vicar around the church. They go up to the choir loft and look over the rail, and see old Maggie Guilfoyle kneeling in the tenth pew back, saying her Rosary in front of a picture of Mary. The pastor pulls the young priest down and says, “let’s have a little fun.” The old priest pokes his head up and quietly says, “Maggie! Maggie Guilfoyle!” The woman stops briefly, then continues praying. The old priest pokes his head up and, a little more loudly, says “Maggie! It’s Jesus, Maggie!” Maggie stops, looks around, then shrugs and goes back to her beads. A third time, the priest pokes his head up. “Maggie! Maggie Guilfoyle! It’s Jesus Christ!” This time, Maggie turns around and, in a thick Irish brogue, barks “WILL YE SHUT UP? I’M TALKING TO YER MOTHER!”

March 25 is my birthday, and it’s also The Feast of The Annunciation on the Church’s calendar. It celebrates the appearance of the Archangel Gabriel to Mary, who’s about 13 years old, to tell her that she has found favor with God and that, with her permission, He would like her to give birth to His Son. The story is told in The Gospel of St. Luke, Chapter 1, verses 26 to 38, and commemorated in the Ave Maria prayer, known colloquially as the “Hail Mary.” It has been set to music many times, most famously by Franz Schubert, who had originally written the music as “Ellens dritter gesang” (“Ellen’s Third Song”), which he wrote in 1825 as part of his Opus 52, a setting of seven songs from Sir Walter Scott’s The Lady Of The Lake. St. Luke provides the lyrics for the first half of the song, while the second half is a prayer asking Mary to pray for us, now and at the hour of death. There are many versions, but my favorite is Luciano Pavarotti’s.

The lyrics, according to Songlyrics.com, with the English translation in parentheses (provided by me):

Ave Maria (Hail Mary)
Gratia plena (Full of grace)
Maria, gratia plena (Mary, full of grace)
Maria, gratia plena (Mary, full of grace)

Ave, ave dominus (Hail, hail the Lord)
Dominus tecum (The Lord is with you)
Benedicta tu in mulieribus (Blessed are you among women)
Et benedictus (And blessed)

Et benedictus fructus ventris (And blessed is the fruit of the womb)
Ventris tuae, Jesus (Your womb, Jesus)
Ave Maria (Hail Mary)

Ave Maria (Hail Mary)
Mater Dei (Mother of God)
Ora pro nobis peccatoribus (Pray for us sinners)
Ora pro nobis, Ora, ora pro nobis peccatoribus (Pray for us, pray, pray for us sinners)

Nunc et in hora mortis (Now and at the hour of death)
Et in hora mortis nostrae (and in the hour of our death)
Et in hora mortis nostrae (and in the hour of our death)
Et in hora mortis nostrae (and in the hour of our death)
Ave Maria (Hail Mary)

The actual prayer, in English:

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the Fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

And that’s Song Lyric Sunday and Song of the Day for June 21, 2020.

Song Lyric Sunday/Song of the Day: Brenda Lee, “Ballin’ The Jack”

Today Jim gave us two names, “John” and “Jack,” as our song prompts. I wanted to go with a song that didn’t use either name as a name, so I’m going with “Ballin’ The Jack,” a song from 1913. It was written by Jim Burris with music by Chris Smith, and was used to introduce the dance of the same name. Wikipedia tells us that “ballin’ the jack” was used as an expression by railroad people to talk about a train that was going at full speed. It was used in the 1942 movie For Me And My Gal starring Gene Kelly and Judy Garland and in several other movies, it’s a standard that’s been recorded many times, including by “Little Miss Dynamite,” Brenda Lee. It was on her 1959 debut album Grandma, What Great Songs You Sang!, recorded when she was just 14 years old. Here she is in a 1960 TV appearance.

YouTube user Mostly Brenda, who posted the song, also posted the lyrics.

Well you put your two knees close up tight,
And then you swing them to the left
You swing them to the right.
Step around the floor kind of nice and light.
And then you twist around and
Twist around with all your might.
Spread your loving arms way out in space,
Then you do the Eagle Rock with the style and grace.
Swing your foot way round then you bring it back.
That’s what I call Ballin’ The Jack.

Well you put your two knees close up tight,
And then you swing them to the left
You swing them to the right.
Step around the floor kind of nice and light.
And then you twist around and
Twist around with all your might.
Spread your loving arms way out in space,
Then you do the Eagle Rock with the style and grace.
Swing your foot way round then you bring it back.
That’s what I call Ballin’ The Jack.

And that’s Song Lyric Sunday (and Song of the Day) for June 14, 2020.